A 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck in southern California on Tuesday night. Shortly after, a 3.4 magnitude aftershock shook the area sparking more talks and fears of “The Big One.”
According to USA Today, the earthquake was centered near the Los Angeles County city of La Verne, about 83 miles northwest of Palm Springs and 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Both the original quake and the aftershock were recorded shortly after 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, and were separated by just under a minute. Tuesday night’s quake also came just one day after the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs was jolted by a magnitude 3.0 quake north of Indio and east of Desert Hot Springs, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The Associated Press reported that the quake shook buildings in downtown Los Angeles and could be felt 40 miles to the northwest in Sylmar. The quake was also be felt in northern portions of San Diego County, including a location 80 miles away. These earthquakes have renewed discussions and fears of the “Big One” – the inevitable massive earthquake that will completely devastate the west coast.
Starting on June 7th , FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] will be conducting a large scale drill that has been named “Cascadia Rising” that will simulate the effects of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone and an accompanying west coast tsunami dozens of feet tall. According to the official flyer for the event, more than “50 counties, plus major cities, tribal nations, state and federal agencies, private sector businesses, and non-governmental organizations across three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – will be participating”.
In addition to “Cascadia Rising”, U.S. Northern Command will be holding five other exercises simultaneously. According to the final draft of the Cascadia Rising drill plan, those five exercises are entitled “Ardent Sentry 2016″, “Vigilant Guard”, “Special Focus Exercise”, “Turbo Challenge” and “Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore”. The primary scenario that of all of these participants will be focusing on will be one that involves a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone followed by a giant tsunami that could displace up to a million people from northern California to southern Canada. –The End of the American Dream
Although there were no reports of damages immediately following the earthquakes and aftershocks, many still pondered the implications of increased seismic activity. The San Andreas Fault in southern California gets far more headlines in the news, however, the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a much larger threat by far. This fault zone is where the Juan de Fuca plate meets the North American plate, and it stretches approximately 700 miles from northern Vancouver Island all the way down to northern California. A massive earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone would also come with a wall of water in the form of deadly tsunami.
Even though it seems unlikely, those who are prepared for the possibility of the “Big One” will fare much better in the event that it actually occurs.